Blame the potato chip. It’s the biggest demon behind that pound-a-year weight creep that plagues many of us, a major diet study found. Bigger than soda, candy and ice cream. And the reason is partly that old advertising cliche: You can’t eat just one.
“They’re very tasty and they have a very good texture. People generally don’t take one or two chips. They have a whole bag,” said obesity expert Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer of the St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York.
What we eat and how much of it we consume has far more impact than exercise and most other habits do on long-term weight gain, according to the study by Harvard University scientists.
It’s the most comprehensive look yet at the effect of individual foods and lifestyle choices like sleep time and quitting smoking.
The results are in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.
The federal government earlier this year issued new dietary guidelines advising people to eat smarter. This month, it ditched the food pyramid — the longtime symbol of healthy eating — in favor of a dinner plate divided into four sections containing fruits, vegetables, protein and grains.